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18 incredible stats you might have missed from the 2018 World Cup

Kylian Mbappe World Cup

Groundbreaking granddads

135 years and three months was the combined age of Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez and Portugal boss Fernando Santos when they met in the last 16 – the oldest combined age for two coaches in a World Cup match. Tabarez helped break the record he'd set at Brazil 2014, when he and his England counterpart Roy Hodgson had a cumulative age of 134 years and two months.

Clock keeps ticking on Alpine drought

64years have passed since Switzerland last scored in a knockout game at the World Cup, after they failed to end their drought in a 1-0 loss to Sweden. Remarkably, the last time the Swiss did score beyond the group stage, they netted five times in 45 minutes of action but still lost 7-5 to Austria in 1954. Switzerland have now suffered elimination in six successive knockout ties in the tournament.

Dead balls are more alive than ever

43% of the 169 goals scored at Russia 2018 came from set-piece situations – the highest ratio in the last 60 years. England netted nine goals from set-pieces, which was the most by a team at a World Cup since Portugal in 1966.

Baby Bleu

19 – the age at which Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager since Pele, 60 years ago, to score multiple goals in a World Cup game. Mbappe then became just the third teenager to play in the final, after Pele (17 in 1958) and Giuseppe Bergomi (18 in 1982) – and the second to score in it after the Brazilian legend.

Continental curse cracked

19matches: how many it took for an Asian Football Confederation side to record a first victory over South American opposition at the World Cup. Japan’s 2-1 upset of Colombia followed 15 defeats and three draws, registered between South Korea (five attempts), Japan (four), Iran (two), North Korea (two), Israel, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, China and Australia.

Frenchman’s famine

13 shots by Olivier Giroud over nine hours and one minute of playing time at Russia 2018 – and, astonishingly, none were on target. Giroud was one of several No.9s who surprisingly failed to find the target, including Gonzalo Higuain, Gabriel Jesus, Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner.

The only exceptions were goalscoring No.9s Radamel Falcao, Paolo Guerrero, Harry Kane, Andrej Kramaric, Romelu Lukaku, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Luis Suarez. The most prolific shirt number was 10, which accounted for 24 goals at the tournament.

O.G. frenzy

12 own goals were scored at Russia 2018, easily topping the previous high at a tournament: eight at France '98. Mario Mandzukic’s deadlock-breaking header was the maiden own goal in a World Cup final, but he finished it having become only the second man to net for both teams in a World Cup game (after the Netherlands’ Ernie Brandts against Italy in 1978).

Belgium’s breakneck break

10 seconds is all that passed between Thibaut Courtois rolling the ball out at one end and Nacer Chadli snatching Belgium an injury-time winner at the other against Japan in the last 16. The move involved Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Meunier and Romelu Lukaku, who cannily dummied the ball for Chadli to score. The goal made Belgium the first side to recover from a two-goal deficit and win a World Cup knockout match in normal time since a Eusebio-inspired Portugal against North Korea 52 years earlier.

Ever-present employers

10 successive World Cup finals have featured an Inter Milan and a Bayern Munich player. Inter pair Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic started for Croatia, while Bayern’s Corentin Tolisso came on for France in Moscow to extend the trend. Paul Pogba, meanwhile, became the first Premier League-based player to score in a World Cup final since Arsenal’s Emmanuel Petit in 1998.

The hurdle of death

7 World Cups in a row have ended with Mexico falling at the round of 16. In the 2-0 defeat by Brazil, Rafa Marquez, at 39 days and 139 days, became the oldest player to start a knockout game since England’s Stanley Matthews, who was six days older, against Uruguay in 1954.

Earlier in Russia, Marquez had become the third man to play in five World Cups after Antonio Carbajal and Lothar Matthaus.

Golden bridesmaids

6 consecutive Golden Ball winners have failed to win that World Cup: Brazil’s Ronaldo in 1998, Germany’s Oliver Kahn in 2002, France’s Zinedine Zidane in 2006, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan in 2010, Argentina’s Lionel Messi in 2014 and Croatia’s Luka Modric in 2018. Five of them were on the losing side in the final, with Forlan the exception as Uruguay lost in the semi-finals.

Four eights from 12

4 total World Cup penalty shootouts for England, and on each occasion their No.8 has missed his spot-kick. The latest was Jordan Henderson against Colombia, imitating Chris Waddle against West Germany in 1990, David Batty against Argentina in 1998 and Frank Lampard against Portugal in 2006. 

Best behaviour

4 red cards were registered at Russia 2018. That’s the same number Valentin Ivanov handed out in one match, the ‘Massacre of Nuremberg’ between Portugal and the Netherlands in 2006. At 0.06 per game, it's the lowest red card average since Mexico 1970 (zero dismissals), with the highest of 0.44 – almost one every two games – set at Germany 2006.


4 saves in World Cup penalty shootouts by Danijel Subasic, matching the record of West Germany’s Harald Schumacher and Argentina’s Sergio Goycochea. The 33-year-old’s exploits helped Croatia become the second side to win two shootouts in the same World Cup – they eliminated Denmark and Russia – after Argentina in 1990.

Against England in the semi-finals, Croatia became only the second side in World Cup history to have three straight games go to extra time after England in 1990 (vs Belgium, Cameroon and West Germany).

Jumping Yerry

3 consecutive World Cup goals for Yerry Mina, who became the first defender to achieve this. Each of the 6ft 3in Colombian centre-back's headers came from right-wing crosses.

A, B, G absent

3 successive defending champions have now fallen in the group stage after Germany emulated Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014. Joachim Low’s side had odds as low as 1-25 on to qualify for the last 16, yet they finished bottom of Group F behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea. For the first time ever, the World Cup’s final four was devoid of Argentina, Brazil or Germany.

Uninventive England

0.6 shots on target from open play per hour is all England averaged over their first six outings – a lower one than any other team except Iran. Four of the six they managed over those 10 hours of action came against minnows Tunisia and Panama, including the goal Harry Kane fortuitously deflected in with his heel.

On the subject of Kane, he tied Diego Maradona’s record for the most World Cup goals as captain (six).

Knockout drought for Messi and Ronaldo

0 goals in 21 hours and 10 minutes: the preposterous combined record of Lionel Messi (eight appearances, no goals) and Cristiano Ronaldo (six games, no goals) in knockout games at the World Cup. In 2018, the Portuguese No.7 drew a blank against Uruguay, while Argentina’s No.10 did the same against France.

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